Jimmy Rodriguez is the COO and co-founder of 3dcart, an all-in-one eCommerce solution. Jimmy is focused on helping Internet retailers succeed online by providing eCommerce resources, developing strategies, actionable plans and customer experiences that grow and improve performance.
Below he offers advice for taking online sales to the next level, how to organize products online and whether companies should work with third-party sellers.
What advice would you give to companies who are just starting to focus on their online sales amid the pandemic?
For businesses just starting to explore eCommerce, it's important to start with a good foundation for their online store. There are many "website builders" on the market that lack important functionality, which could be a set back before launching. Start by outlining all the requirements to run your business; this should include inventory control, pricing structure, bulk discounts, reordering capabilities, shipping methods, taxes, payments and order processing. Then, narrow down your research to eCommerce platforms that meet these criteria and evaluate all the costs involved, not just to launch, but as your store grows, before committing to an eCommerce solution.
What advice would you give to companies that have had a strong online sales division, but are now looking to take it to the next level?
There is always room for improvement in the eCommerce shopping experience. Established online businesses should define priorities based on their current needs. Some key questions to help them with this process would be:
Are we getting enough traffic?
Is the conversion rate above average for the industry?
Could we increase the average order value?
Are we incentivizing repeat orders?
These can help define a marketing plan that includes SEO, conversion rate optimization, email marketing and other digital marketing strategies to grow their business.
How should companies organize their products on their site? What are consumers looking for when they browse products?
Websites should be organized and designed using a mobile-first approach; while desktop experiences allow for complex navigation, mobile shoppers represent the majority of online sales. Taking advantage of the home page with clear main categories is the best way to guide visitors throughout the site. Product pages should include multiple images, clear descriptions, product questions and answers from customers alongside product reviews. In addition to these elements, setting up content pages with product guides is a great way to improve your site’s SEO and help customers find the right products on your online store.
What's the most common mistake companies make when selling products online, and how can they avoid it?
One of the most prevalent issues that affects online sellers is the mistake of trying to do everything themselves, from building the website to marketing it, while also running their online business. Gone are the days where everyone must build a website from scratch and maintain it on their own. Thanks to hosted eCommerce platforms, the technicalities of website building are simplified to a level that’s as easy as writing an email. Many of these solutions already include built-in tools for running a blog, implementing SEO, sending email campaigns and more.
How important is having a mobile app for online sales? What advice can you give companies for setting those up?
While mobile apps were very popular a couple of years ago, and are still important for large retailers, they are no longer necessary for all online retailers to have. As long your website is responsive and can provide an experience optimized for mobile shoppers, you don’t need to develop a dedicated mobile app.
Should companies focus on selling products on their own site or should they also look to third parties like Amazon? What are the pros and cons?
A complete multi-channel model should include a company's own website, but also marketplaces like Amazon, as these can provide exposure to a large number of shoppers that wouldn't learn about your business or products otherwise. Selling on marketplaces comes with higher fees, but it also gives you the opportunity for repeat sales from a new audience that found your product and can re-order via your website.